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Heart Health

Hormones and Heart Health

There are seven core indicators for cardiovascular health according to the American Heart Association: physical activity, diet, cholesterol, blood pressure, fasting glucose, weight and smoking. Socioeconomic status and lifestyle factor in as well. Do hormones also play a role? The endocrine system is the network of glands located throughout the body that produce hormones. Hormones are released into the bloodstream or the fluid surrounding cells and receptors in various organs and tissues recognize and respond to the hormones. They act as chemical messengers to which only target cells with compatible receptors are equipped to respond. Over 50 different hormones have

Environmental Toxins and Heart Health

You often hear the phrase you are what you eat; but, have you ever thought that you are what you breathe? Let’s discuss more about the air. Firstly, Particulate Matter (PM) from an array of sources makes up the air composition we breath. These particles can include dust, dirt, soot and smoke generated from wood stoves or forest fires. Also, these particles can come from gases emitted by power plants, factories, construction sites and everyday traffic. In addition, particles can travel hundreds to thousands of miles downwind, affecting people far from the source. Breathing in this environmental toxins can pose

The Fibre and Heart Health Connection

Approximately 2.5 million Canadians are living with heart disease and 160,000 are newly diagnosed each year. It affects all genders and risk factors increase with age. Statistics like this can be scary but heart conditions aren’t inevitable. There are steps you can take to reduce your risk even if you’ve already had issues with your heart. The link between dietary fibre and heart health may surprise you but it is an important one. The recommended daily intake of fibre is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. However, only about 5% of people follow these guidelines. This is

Erectile Dysfunction as a Marker of Cardiovascular Disease

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is mostly addressed as a psychogenic disorder, but an organic form of ED occurs in about 10-15% of all cases1 and in 72% of cases in men under the age of 40 years.2  The organic cause of ED is strongly linked to low testosterone levels as well as atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease (CVD). ED is typically age-related with many similar risk factors to CVD including hypertension, diabetes, smoking, obesity, dyslipidemia.3  In the Massachusetts Male Aging Study (MMAS), 1057 men aged 40-70 years who did not have CVD or diabetes at baseline were followed for roughly 10-13 years.4

The Nervous System and Cardiovascular Disease Risk

If you’ve ever found yourself in a state of panic or anxiety and tried slowing your breathing, controlling and lengthening the exhales, you know that it’s possible to use that breath to slow a quickened heart rate and calm the nervous system. Our brain controls the cardiovascular (CV) system, but how we react when we feel stress can also instruct the heart and blood vessels on how to respond. Long-term when we don’t cope well, when chronic stress or anxiety cause the sympathetic nervous system (“fight or flight”) to stay turned on all the time it changes how the CV

Balanced Fats and Brain Function

One of the biggest health concerns as we age is a decline in cognitive function associated with dementia. A condition that describes changes in cognitive function without a change in consciousness and is the result of underlying neurodegenerative diseases. Dementia can be classified as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), vascular dementia (VD), dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s associated dementia (PD). With each type of dementia there is a distinct pathophysiology with different genetic, metabolic and lifestyle risk factors. While dementia is difficult to treat once symptoms begin to appear it is important to consider preventative measures and

Natural Treatment of Metabolic Syndrome and Heart Disease

Metabolic syndrome refers to the “perfect storm” of hypertension, dyslipidemia, poor blood glucose regulation, and the presence of intra-abdominal adipose accumulation. Having metabolic syndrome increases the likelihood of developing atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease (CVD), in addition to Type 2 diabetes.   Prevention and treatment of each of these disorders includes dietary and lifestyle changes, including decreasing intake of sugar and simple carbohydrates, and regular physical activity. However, many individuals find these changes too difficult, or may need additional support if areas such as blood pressure, glucose, insulin or cholesterol aren’t coming into normal range within a reasonable amount of time.   Conventional treatments often cause side effects that dissuade patients from

Natural Treatment of Metabolic Syndrome and Cardiovascular Disease

Metabolic syndrome refers to the “perfect storm” of hypertension, dyslipidemia, poor blood glucose regulation, and the presence of intra-abdominal adipose accumulation. Having metabolic syndrome increases the likelihood of developing atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease (CVD), in addition to Type 2 diabetes. Prevention and treatment of each of these disorders includes dietary and lifestyle changes, including decreasing intake of sugar and simple carbohydrates, and regular physical activity. However, many individuals find these changes too difficult, or may need additional support if areas such as blood pressure, glucose, insulin or cholesterol aren’t coming into normal range within a reasonable amount of time. Conventional

Heart Health After Menopause – Is HRT the Answer?

There are many curious and complex occurrences that take place during menopause as any post-menopausal woman can attest. Most of these changes occur because of the changes in estrogen production1. Menopause marks the natural progression from reproductive to non-reproductive phase of life. This transition is initiated by the gradual reduction of ovarian estrogen output1,2. This has a systemic effect, and these changes can come with certain challenges such as unexpected hot flashes, alterations in libido, and mood changes2. An area that often goes overlooked are the changes in the cardiovascular system that accompany the drop in estrogen1-3. Interestingly, while men

Cardiovascular Disease: The Leading Men’s Health Threat

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality in men. Though women tend to have equal numbers of incidences, they are typically later in life and therefore it is often thought that the threat of this type of disease is greater in men. In 2019 heart disease was responsible for one in four deaths of men in the United States. Though genetics can predispose individuals to cardiovascular issues, there are many things that can be done to help treat and prevent cardiovascular disease from arising. Below are some suggestions as to what one can do to maintain a healthy heart

Alcohol and Heart Disease: A Fine Balance

The heart is a magnificent and mighty organ, in fact the entire circulatory system should take a bow! Continuously sending out rich oxygenated blood throughout our bodies, and recycling it in a highly calibrated, exquisitely complex system of inputs and adjustments. The heart adjusts the force and rate of contractions while blood vessels manage pressure and perfusion based on a number of signals such as fluid volume, exertion and even our mood. The point being that our cardiovascular system operates with military precision, that is of course until it doesn’t. Heart disease defines a group of conditions related to the

Research Spotlight: B-Vitamins and Blood Pressure

What’s Already Known on This Topic? High blood pressure (or hypertension) is the leading risk factor contributing to death worldwide, primarily from heart disease and stroke. Effective lowering of blood pressure, even by small amounts, is however proven to reduce these events, and can thus save lives in middle and older age. Along with the well-recognized nutrition and lifestyle factors that contribute to higher blood pressure, there is much interest in the role of genetic factors. This aspect is receiving greater attention in recent years with the emergence of ‘genome-wide association studies’ or GWAS, an approach that involves rapidly scanning

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